It’s just something to keep in mind for marketing purposes. A live event is going to generate more interest than a prerecorded event, so you’re going to want to advertise that fact. You also don’t want to mislead people; if you advertise something as live, but it is actually automated, it could backfire and generate a significant amount of negative buzz for future events if you’re found out.
If your event is prerecorded or automated, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but you’re going to have to focus on a good value add. The recorded content is only part of the value. It may be prerecorded, but there is still someone there to field questions afterward, or there is some other interactive element to it that makes the fact that it’s not live a nonissue. Or maybe the content is so good and so unique that you can do it live once and resell the recording a few times for people who couldn’t attend the first event.
Another way to advertise or set up a prerecorded webinar is to tailor it for new customers or qualified prospects. Tell them that you have a webinar coming up in the near future, and then arrange to deliver it at that time. This can be done on an ad hoc basis, or you can schedule the events regularly.
Even though you’re not going to lie about a webinar being prerecorded, you probably don’t want to make it obvious that it is—you still want to give the appearance of it being live. Even if your attendees are aware that it’s prerecorded, a well-configured presentation will still put them into the same mode of thinking as if it were live. For instance, if an attendee is late, don’t let him start watching from the beginning of the presentation; make him miss the beginning and pick up where and when he joined, just as though it were live. The Q&A portion of the webinar should always look live, even if it’s not. This may require you to handle the Q&A in a separate service or session. You can also allow new questions to come in during the prerecorded Q&A session from the original live event, and say at the end of the session that you will reply to all other questions via email.
If you offer to do that, though, make sure you collect those questions and reply to them personally.